Clearwire launched its portable wireless Internet service in August 2004. The service is now available in 16 states across the United States as well as in Europe, using standard WiMAX technology. The company offers a nomadic WiMAX service that competes with cable and DSL Internet service and requires the use of a WiMAX modem. The modem is similar to a cable modem except that the WiMAX modem can be moved to any location that receives a Clearwire WiMAX signal and has access to power.
Unlike fixed broadband service, which can be cost-effectively deployed in a limited geographic area, mobile broadband service will require a costly investment over a wide area in order to provide sufficient coverage for roaming mobile users. Mobile broadband also requires that the operator own wireless spectrum throughout the coverage area.